Thai Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn proclaimed king

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Thai Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn proclaimed king

Media captionWhat do we know about Thailand”s new king?

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has been proclaimed Thailand”s new king, 50 days after the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The prince accepted the throne following an invitation from parliament, formalising his accession.

He becomes King Vajiralongkorn, the 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty.

King Bhumibol, the world”s longest-reigning monarch, died on 13 October. The government has declared a year-long official mourning period.

Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, was given the title of crown prince, making him the official heir, in 1972.

The late king was widely seen as a pillar of stability during seven decades of political turmoil in Thailand.

His son is yet to enjoy the same level of popularity as his father, and spends much of his time abroad.

Image caption
Thais continue to mourn the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October aged 88

The crown prince had been expected to become king the day after his father died but Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at the time said that he had asked to delay the official proclamation so he could mourn.

His accession to the throne ends a period of uncertainty during which Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, a 96-year-old former prime minister, has been serving as regent.

Thailand”s monarchy is protected from criticism by tough lese-majeste laws, which restrict media discussion about the royal family”s role, including in the international press.

Most ordinary Thais know only a few details about who the crown prince is and how he lives his life.

In recent years he has tried to improve his profile – important because the king is traditionally seen as a guiding force in Thai politics, which is highly polarised.

A formal coronation will not happen until after King Bhumibol”s cremation, expected next year.

Bhumibol”s own coronation took place four years after his brother King Ananda Mahidol died of gunshot wounds in mysterious circumstances.